Mrs. Marshall’s Margaret Cornet
Specialty Equipment: ice cream machine, cornet moulds
Specialty Ingredients: red food coloring
Dish as in The Fat Duck:
In Search of Short Ribs. That could be the title of the past week. I went from store, to butcher to the internet and could not procure some ribs. It didn’t help I was clueless what the translation of short ribs is in Dutch, so with every visit to the butcher I hoped they would be familiar with the words ribs and short. After some time I realized I knew the ultimate source in everything meat related, my uncle, who owned a highly regarded butcher shop (now retired). I called him and made it to ‘short ri…’ before he fired away on short ribs: what cut of meat it is (the ‘klaprib’ in Dutch for those interested) and which part of the animal it comes from. From what I gathered it is the meat (with bone) that extends from the Rib Roast to the breast of a cow, so it extends from the Côte de Boeuf of the third course of Beef Royal.
My uncle even recommended a butcher shop, with their own livestock, where I could probably get the ribs. He was right. Butcher nowadays often order only parts of an animal and have therefore less control than butchers who butcher entire animals. An example is one of the top butcher shops in Amsterdam, who could only get me boned short ribs, not with ribs on the bone.
With the short ribs sorted I wanted a short recipe to fill the gap between the courses and decided on the cornets. As always looks can be deceiving. A short recipe. A nightmare to produce (close to) Fat Duck results. Fragile pastry, small cornets and tiny dots of icing, it all adds up to possible failure. I needed to make a good couple of cornets before I was happy with them. But lets start with more straightforward components of the dish.
The filling is an apple ice cream and a ginger granite. The ice cream is made from baked apples, lemons, full milk and typical ice cream ingredients. I did almost everything in a thermomix. It is very handy for pasteurizing an ice cream mix.
Sieving the apple custard to leave bigger pieces of apple behind.
The granite is made from ginger and oranges. It is made by soaking a good amount of chopped ginger and orange zest in water and orange juice. Tasty stuff, but pungent as hell. Warning: do not eat on its own.
The fiddly part of the recipe are the dots of icing and the cornets. The icing is made by mixing icing sugar and water. Unexpected straightforward. A little red food coloring makes one part of the icing pink.
To help with the browning you have to coat the brick pastry with a mix of clarified butter and icing sugar. Clarified butter is easy to make. Just melt butter and let it bubble for a few seconds, pour it into a small container, let it stand, remove the solids from the surface and pass it through muslin and leave behind the milk solids that have settled on the bottom.
With the butter mix ready I started on the cornets. They are made by cutting brick pastry in 12cm circles, cutting them in half, rolling them up in cornet shape, placing them in cornet moulds (I used piping bag nozzles) and then subjecting them to an 150˚C oven.
I could try to explain my method for forming the cornets, but I’m always confused by these type of instructions, so I would say, stick with it if you have trouble with them.
If you look at the picture in the book and the photo of the restaurant you can see the top circle of the cornets is not level, they have a sort of miniature mountaintop. The instructions don’t mention how to create this shape, so what I did was cut off the top on a diagonal.
To finish the cornets I coated them in sugar, filled them with the apple ice cream, ginger granite and topped it with apple-vanilla salt. I was careful with the sugar, to make sure the icing was not covered by it. The first couple of cornets had sugar all over the icing and it did not really look good.
Was it worth the pastry precision? Hmm. Yeah. Maybe. The cornets are tasty, but probably fit far better in the tasting menu of The Fat Duck, than a regular Thursday night. So if your not planning on making the entire tasting menu at home and serving it, they are, in my opinion, not worth the trouble.